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January 22, 2015 / 7:27 PM / 3 years ago




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Yemeni president quits, throwing nation deeper into chaos

SANAA - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, an ally of the United States, resigned on Thursday, a government source said, throwing the country deeper into chaos days after Houthi rebels battled their way into his presidential palace. (YEMEN-SECURITY/ (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 1:18 p.m., 404 words)

Obama will not meet Israel’s Netanyahu on U.S. visit

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will not meet Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits Washington in March to address Congress, the White House said on Thursday, a decision that could further escalate tensions between the leaders. The White House on Wednesday said the invitation, which was issued by Republican lawmakers without consulting Obama, was a breach of diplomatic protocol. (ISRAEL-USA/OBAMA (UPDATE 2, PIX), moving shortly, 300 words) See also: Kerry, like Obama, will not meet with Netanyahu during visit (ISRAEL-USA/KERRY, moved at 1:58 p.m., 30 words)


Obama pushes child care initiatives in conservative Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. - President Barack Obama finished up a two-day tour of the U.S. heartland on Thursday with a stop in a Democratic-leaning part of conservative Kansas to tout proposals to provide greater access to childcare. In Kansas, where Obama’s mother was born, the president joked that his roots in the state did not help him in his two campaigns for the White House. Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas, is a rare Democratic-leaning area of the state. (USA-OBAMA/ (PIX, TV), moving shortly, by Jeff mason, 400 words)

President Obama to be interviewed on YouTube

-- President Barack Obama is to be interviewed on YouTube on themes arising from his State of the Union speech. Meanwhile, he continues a two-day swing through Republican strongholds on Thursday with a visit to Kansas to push his theme of “middle class economics” from this week’s speech. (USA-OBAMA/YOUTUBE (PIX), expect after 5 p.m., 250 words)

GOP infighting clouds move to roll back legal abortions

WASHINGTON - Republicans in the Congress were in disarray on Thursday after legislation placing new limits on abortions was withdrawn from a House debate because of a lack of support from more moderate members who rebelled against it. The setback for anti-abortion forces came as abortion rights supporters demonstrated on the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. (USA-ABORTION/CONGRESS (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moving shortly, 500 words)

U.S.-led coalition needs ‘two years’ to expel Islamic State from Iraq, says UK

LONDON - The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State could need up to two years to expel the militant group from Iraq whose own forces are still months away from launching proper combat operations, Britain’s foreign minister warns. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/SECURITY (UPDATE 2), moved, 450 words)

+See also:

MIDEAST-CRISIS/SECURITY-CANADA, moved at 12:14 p.m., 300 words; MIDEAST-CRISIS/AIRSTRIKES, moved, 100 words; and MIDEAST-CRISIS/SECURITY (UPDATE 3), moved at 1:19 p.m., 400 words

Historic U.S.-Cuba talks shift to restoring diplomatic ties

HAVANA - The United States and Cuba launch talks on Thursday on restoring diplomatic relations after a contentious session on immigration accentuated the difficulties in overcoming half a century of hostilities. (CUBA-USA/ (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 1:21 p.m., 400 words, will be updated by 6 p.m. with details from talks)

Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush to meet privately in Utah on Thursday

WASHINGTON - Leading potential Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, who are engaged in a behind-the-scenes competition for dollars and support among party loyalists, are to meet in Utah on Thursday. (USA POLITICS/ROMNEY BUSH (UPDATE 2, PIX), moving shortly, by Steve Holland, 426 words)

Walker seeks drug testing for Wisconsin food stamp, jobless aid recipients

MADISON, Wis. - Republican Governor Scott Walker on Thursday proposed a plan to guarantee that drug abusers do not receive food stamps or jobless benefits unless they pass a drug screening, challenging federal rules. (USA-WISCONSIN/DRUG TESTS (PIX), expect by 4 p.m., 400 words)

UN asks countries for climate plans after record warm 2014

OSLO - The United Nations asked governments on Thursday to submit plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the building blocks of a deal due in Paris in December to limit global warming, after scientists said 2014 was the hottest year on record. Governments have agreed an informal deadline of March 31 to submit plans as the basis of the U.N. deal to slow climate change, which nearly all climate scientists say is mainly due to rising emissions of man-made greenhouse gases. (CLIMATECHANGE-UN/, moved at noon, 250 words)


Guantanamo panel reviews case of alleged al Qaeda bomb maker

ARLINGTON, Va. - A suspected al Qaeda bomb maker held at Guantanamo Bay military prison for almost 13 years on Thursday faced a U.S. national security board weighing whether he should remain there. (USA-GUANTANAMO/SAWAH, moved at 11:25 a.m., 300 words)

United States says trade holdouts can’t keep global deals hostage

WASHINGTON - New world trade talks had to level the playing field between developed and developing economies on farm support and avoid being held hostage by countries unwilling to open markets, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in an opinion piece for Reuters on Thursday. (WTO-USA/, moved, 558 words) See also: Mexico says Pacific free trade deal ‘feasible’ in mid-March (TRADE-TPP/MEXICO, moved at 1:23 p.m., 30 words)


Harvard buys up water rights in drought-hit wine country

BOSTON - Harvard University has quietly become one of the biggest grape growers in California’s drought-stricken Paso Robles wine region, securing water well drilling permits to feed its vineyards days before lawmakers banned new pumping, according to records reviewed by Reuters. The investment, which began as a bet on the grape market, has turned into a smart water play as the wells boosted the value of its land in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles. But it has also raised questions about the role of big investors in agriculture in the midst of a water crisis. (HARVARD-WATER/ (PIX), moved at 1:12 p.m., by Richard Valdmanis, 764 words)


NY State Assembly speaker charged with fraud in federal corruption probe

NEW YORK - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the state’s most powerful Democrats for more than two decades, was charged on Thursday with fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and other criminal counts after a lengthy corruption investigation, federal authorities said. (USA-NEWYORK/SPEAKER-ARREST (UPDATE 5, PIX), moved at 12:33 p.m., 484 words)

Christie appoints a turnaround team for Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ/NEW YORK - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Thursday appointed a turnaround team, including former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, for Atlantic City in a step the struggling casino town has resisted. Atlantic City’s municipal finances have declined with the fortunes of the local casino industry, which has suffered steep losses due to competition in nearby states. (USA-ATLANTIC CITY/EMERGENCY (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 12:45 p.m., 498 words)

Opening statements in Boston bombing trial delayed

BOSTON - Opening statements in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been postponed as jury selection has taken longer than expected, meaning lawyers will not begin presenting cases Monday as planned, the court said. The delay comes as Tsarnaev’s attorneys launched a fresh effort to move the trial outside of Boston. (BOSTON-BOMBING-TRIAL/ (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 11 a.m., 400 words)

McDonald’s workers in Virginia file civil rights lawsuit

-- Former McDonald’s workers in Virginia filed a civil rights lawsuit against the world’s largest fast-food chain and the owner of restaurants where they worked in the latest bid to hold the chain legally responsible for the actions of its franchisees. (MCDONALDS-LAWSUIT/DISCRIMINATION (UPDATE 1), moved at 11:15 a.m., 400 words)

Accused bin Laden spokesman Fawwaz goes on trial

NEW YORK - Khalid al-Fawwaz, a 52-year-old Saudi national accused of helping Osama bin Laden disseminate calls for Muslims to wage war on Americans on trial on terror charges related to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. (USA-SECURITY/FAWWAZ, expect by 3 p.m., 400 words)

New Jersey apartment fire displaces hundreds

-- Hundreds of residents were displaced from their homes after a massive fire ripped through a New Jersey apartment complex, officials said, but no serious injuries were reported. (USA-NEW JERSEY/FIRE (PIX), moved at 5:41 a.m., 290 words)

New Arkansas governor seeks funds for state’s alternative to Obamacare

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - New Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has proposed funding through 2016 for the state’s bipartisan health insurance plan that has been attacked by conservatives at home and studied by other states as an alternative to Obamacare. (USA-ARKANSAS/HEALTHCARE, moved at 12:54 p.m., 350 words)

Birmingham, Alabama, chosen as host of World Games in 2021

-- The World Games, an event held every four years that showcases more than 35 sports not on the Olympic program, will be hosted in 2021 by Birmingham, Alabama, the International World Games Association said. (SPORTS-WORLDGAMES/ALABAMA, moved, 160 words)

Actor Dustin Diamond pleads not guilty in stabbing case in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE - Actor Dustin Diamond, who played the nerdy Screech on the early ‘90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges related to the stabbing of a man during a Christmas bar fight, according to court records in Wisconsin. (USA-CRIME/WISCONSIN, moved at 12:29 p.m., 233 words)

Ohio man accused in U.S. Capitol attack to appear in court

CINCINNATI - An Ohio man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol with guns and bombs is expected to appear in court on Thursday after being indicted in the case. Christopher Cornell, 20, of Cincinnati, was arrested last week and charged with attempted murder and illegal firearm possession. (USA-CONGRESS/SUSPECT, expect by 4 p.m., 300 words)

Wendell Ford, last Democratic U.S. senator from Kentucky, dies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Wendell Ford, 90, a former governor and the last Democratic U.S. senator from Kentucky after retiring in 1999, died on Thursday. (USA-KENTUCKY/FORD-DEATH, moved, 291 words, moved)

Disneyland says park perfectly safe for visitors vaccinated against measles

OS ANGELES - Disneyland, seeking to tamp down any backlash over a measles outbreak linked to the California park, said on Thursday the popular theme park was perfectly safe for visitors who have been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease. (USA-MEASLES/CALIFORNIA, expect by 3 p.m., 250 words)

Storms close ski resort, break records in cold-hardy Alaska

JUNEAU - Winter storms have closed a ski resort and was expected to break near-century-old snow records in Alaska and send shivers through the already bitterly cold state, which had seen limited snowfall early in the season. (USA-WEATHER/ALASKA, expect by 4 p.m., 350 words)

Two California firefighters dismissed, 13 punished in ethics probe

-- Two California firefighters were dismissed and 13 others punished, following an investigation into a former fire chief who was accused of stabbing his fiancée to death and then going on the run for two weeks, officials said on Thursday. (USA-FIREFIGHTERS/CALIFORNIA, moved at 1:16 p.m., 300 words)

California governor and university chief to hash out tuition spat

(USA-EDUCATION/CALIFORNIA, moved at 3:35 a.m., 380 words)


Nebraska hospital releases patient found not to have Ebola

-- A Nebraska hospital on Thursday announced it has discharged an American healthcare worker who was at high risk for the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone but who did not develop the disease. (USA-NEBRASKA/EBOLA, moved at 12:35 p.m., 283 words)

Ebola ebbing in West Africa but vigilance needed - WHO

GENEVA - The Ebola epidemic in West Africa appears to be ebbing, with fewer than 150 cases reported in the past week, but efforts must be pursued to stamp out the deadly disease, the World Health Organization says. (HEALTH-EBOLA/WHO, moved, 400 words)


Drug-resistant superbug sickened dozens at Seattle area hospital

SEATTLE - A drug-resistant superbug has sickened dozens of patients at a Seattle area hospital between 2012 and 2014, including 11 who died, and were likely transmitted from patient to patient by tools used to treat gut problems and had been cleaned according to manufacturers’ specifications. (USA-SUPERBUG/WASHINGTON, expect by 4 p.m., 350 words)

Gates foundation sees huge gains against disease, poverty by 2030

NEW YORK - Worldwide child deaths will be halved over the next 15 years, polio, guinea worm and river blindness will be eradicated, and there will be a single-dose cure for malaria. The predictions appear in the annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (GATES-FOUNDATION/LETTER, moved, 400 words)

UK aims to pass law to ban branding on cigarette packs before May

LONDON - The British government plans to introduce a law before May forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets without branding in England, ending years of debate and lobbying. (BRITAIN-CIGARETTES/PACKAGING (UPDATE 3), moved, 500 words) See also: The smoke around e-cigarette science (HEALTH-ECIGARETTES/RESEARCH (INSIGHT, PIX, GRAPHIC), moved, 1,300 words)

Costly, complex headache treatments on the rise

(HEALTHCARE-COSTS/HEADACHE, moved at 12:26 p.m., 400 words)

California lawmakers introduce Oregon-style assisted suicide bill



Murdoch’s Sun mocks critics with return of topless “Page Three girls”

LONDON - Just days after women’s rights campaigners celebrated the apparent disappearance of topless women from Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper, the British tabloid brought the feature back on Thursday and mocked its critics. (BRITAIN-SUN/, moved, 300 words)

A Minute With: Anne Hathaway on ‘Song One,’ producing and Catwoman

LOS ANGELES - After winning an Oscar in 2013 for best supporting actress in the musical “Les Miserables,” Anne Hathaway is taking on a new challenge as a producer. “Song One” is an independent film also starring Hathaway, as an academic who finds connection through her brother’s music after he falls into a coma. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival last year and will be released in U.S. theaters on Friday. Hathaway, 32, talked to Reuters about her first producing experience, her Oscar and Catwoman. (FILM-ANNEHATHAWAY/ (PIX, TV), moved at 1:17 p.m., 400 words)

Pop star Rihanna wins legal battle with UK’s Topshop over image rights

LONDON - Pop star Rihanna’s victory in a legal case against Topshop over the use of her image has been upheld by Britain’s Court of Appeal, which backed an earlier judgment against the British fashion chain. (BRITAIN-LAWSUIT/RIHANNA, moved, 200 words)

Comedian Jay Leno voices support for Cosby accusers

-- Former NBC late night host Jay Leno voiced his support on Wednesday for the women who have come forward claiming they were sexually assaulted by comedian Bill Cosby. (PEOPLE-BILLCOSBY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 381 words)

‘Strange Magic’ casts animated spell with pop tunes and fairies

NEW YORK - Take one feisty fairy princess, a misunderstood villain and a spunky elf, add a magical potion and a soundtrack of classic pop songs and you have the recipe for the George Lucas animated film “Strange Magic,” a fairy tale about finding unexpected love. Lucas, creator of the blockbuster “Star Wars” franchise, is the executive producer and wrote the story for the film that opens in U.S. theaters on Friday. (FILM-STRANGEMAGIC/, moved at 12:54 p.m., by Patricia Reaney, 400 words)

Book Talk: Frank Bascombe bears witness in new Richard Ford novel

NEW YORK - It’s been almost 30 years since Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford introduced readers to Frank Bascombe with “The Sportswriter,” the first of four books involving the iconic character. His latest, “Let Me Be Frank With You,” finds an aging hero drawn into intimate, uncomfortable experiences. (BOOKS-AUTHORS/FORD, moved, 400 words)

South Korean children navigate rocky road to K-pop stardom

SEOUL - Nine-year-old Kim Si-yoon has no time to throw tantrums. She wakes up at half-past seven for school, followed by hours of voice training, dance lessons and cram school before crashing into bed at midnight. Kim is a wannabe K-pop star. (SOUTHKOREA KPOP/WIDERIMAGE (PIX), moved, 800 words)

Film Review: ‘The Boy Next Door’


TV Review: ‘Better Call Saul’



Belichick denies any involvement in ball deflation

BOSTON - New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick denied any knowledge of the footballs being deflated for Sunday’s AFC Championship game win. (NFL-PATRIOTS/DEFLATION (PIX), moved at 11 a.m., 250 words)

Marino says improbable rally gives Seattle edge in Super Bowl

(NFL-SUPER/MARINO (PIX, TV), moved, 400 words)


Ukraine’s forces hold line against Russian troops, rebels - Poroshenko

KIEV - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday his troops were holding the line against separatists and Russian forces after a sharp increase in attacks and the withdrawal of government defenders of Donetsk airport. Earlier on Thursday at least eight civilians were killed when a trolleybus was hit by an artillery shell or mortar at a public transport stop in the southern district of Donetsk which is controlled by separatists. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/CASUALTIES (UPDATE 5, TV), moving shortly, 400 words)

Argentina’s Fernandez says prosecutor’s death was not suicide

BUENOS AIRES - The death of a prosecutor investigating the bombing of a Jewish community center was not a suicide, as was initially reported, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said on Thursday. (ARGENTINA-IRAN/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 10:43 a.m., 570 words)

Hamas calls on Hezbollah to unite fight against Israel

GAZA - A letter purported to be from Mohammed Deif, the leader of Hamas’s armed wing, on Thursday appealed to the Lebanese Hezbollah group to unite with Hamas in battling Israel. (ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/HEZBOLLAH, moved at 9:23 a.m., 250 words)

Politics and rivalry shape Iran response to Paris attack

BEIRUT - The deadly attack by Islamist gunmen on the offices of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo drew a somewhat unexpected response from Iranian clerics and officials: They condemned it. (IRAN-POLITICS/FRANCE-SHOOTING, moved, 835 words)

Egypt court orders release of Mubarak’s sons pending retrial

CAIRO - A lawyer for the sons of Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak says a court orders their release pending retrial in a corruption case but judicial sources say they will not be freed until prosecutors review other legal cases against them. (EGYPT-MUBARAK/SONS (UPDATE 1), moved, 310 words) See also: Egypt’s high court orders re-trial of policemen linked to 37 deaths (EGYPT-COURTS/POLICE, moved, 425 words)

U.N. condemns attack on Libyan central bank, demands inquiry

(LIBYA-SECURITY/, moved at 1:22 p.m., 240 words)

Britain to unveil new powers for Scotland, edges towards federalism

(BRITAIN-SCOTLAND/, moved, 485 words)


Britain’s Prince Andrew denies underage sex claim

DAVOS, Switzerland - Britain’s Prince Andrew on Thursday made his first public comment on allegations that he had had sex with an underage girl, reiterating previous official denials. (ANDREW-LAWSUIT/DAVOS (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved at 2 p.m., 300 words)


U.S. jobless claims fall from 7-month high

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week from a seven-month high, pointing to continued improvement in labor market conditions. (USA-ECONOMY/UNEMPLOYMENT (UPDATE 1, GRAPHICS), moved at 10:28 a.m. 440 words)

ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank took the ultimate policy leap on Thursday, launching a government bond-buying programme which will pump hundreds of billions in new money into a sagging euro zone economy. (ECB-POLICY/ (UPDATE 6, PIX, GRAPHIC), moved at 12:36 p.m., 1,052 words)

Royal Bank of Canada to buy City National in $5.4 billion deal

TORONTO - Royal Bank of Canada says it will buy City National Corp, a U.S. lender serving high net worth clients, in a $5.4 billion deal to expand in the United States. (CITY NATIONAL-M&A/RBC (UPDATE 2), moved, 400 words)

Icahn nominates two directors to Gannett’s board

-- Activist investor Carl Icahn nominated two directors to USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc’s board and pushed for changes in the company’s corporate governance practices. Gannett’s shares rose as much as 3.9 percent to $32.58 on the New York Stock Exchange. Gannett said in August it would separate its slow-growing print operations, including USA Today, from its TV and digital properties. (GANNETT-ICAHN/ (UPDATE 2, CORRECTED), moved at 1:58 p.m., 350 words)

Starbucks reposts results, eyes on new No. 2

SEATTLE - Starbucks turns in holiday quarter results and may announce replacement for Troy Alstead, widely viewed as the company’s second in command, who is taking an unpaid sabbatical. (STARBUCKS-RESULTS/, expect by 4:30 p.m., 300 words)

Verizon revenue rises as retail postpaid subscribers increase

-- Verizon Communications quarterly revenue rose 6.8 percent due to higher net addition of postpaid subscribers and a rise in average revenue per account as users added more devices to shared data plans. (VERIZON COMMS-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 255 words)

United Airlines bullish on results amid lower fuel costs

CHICAGO - United Continental Holdings Inc provides a bullish outlook for the coming year in part because of lower fuel costs, sending shares up even though its fourth-quarter profit falls short of expectations. (UAL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

American Express to cut more than 4,000 jobs

-- American Express Co will cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, an executive says, after the credit card company also reported higher quarterly expenses and provisions for bad loans. (AMERICAN EXPRESS-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 3), moved, 360 words)

GM bets $300 million to upgrade plant for new Cadillac CT6 sedan

DETROIT - General Motors has invested $300 million to upgrade and heavily automate its Detroit-Hamtramck plant ahead of this year’s launch of the 2016 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan, a company executive said Thursday. (AUTOS-CADILLAC/NEWMODEL, moved, 200 words)

Janus profit up after Gross helps bring first inflows since 2009

BOSTON - Asset manager Janus Capital Group says fourth-quarter profit rose 22 percent after the arrival of star bond fund manager Bill Gross helps it reach its first quarter of net deposits since 2009. (JANUS CAPITAL GR-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 350 words)

Philippines’ Jollibee Foods seeking a U.S. fast food firm



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